Purchasing this album in either the digital download version or the vinyl 2LP provides access to both standard stereo and also quadraphonic surround mixes of the record.
After years of appearances on compilations and as a group member, composer and improvisor Jeff Snyder has released his debut album, Sunspots, on Carrier Records. Much like the actual phenomena of sunspots - cyclical, chaotic, and powerful - Snyder’s album invokes the sense that there are underlying forces at work which do not easily conform to human expectation or yield to human analysis. This is pure electronic music, meant for loudspeakers.
Drawing on his love of great synthesis albums of the 20th Century, Snyder created Sunspots using a 1970s Buchla synthesizer at ElektronMusikStudion in Stockholm. He improvised each of the four 18-minute tracks, controlling the Buchla with one of his own creations, the Snyderphonics JD-1 keyboard/sequencer. Organic, mysterious and inscrutable, Sunspots is nonetheless purely human, as the record’s audible honesty and vulnerability draw the listener closer.
Sunspots is available as a digital download in both stereo and quadraphonic mixes, and as a stereo vinyl dual LP. The two pieces on first record are a patchwork of textures, recalling Morton Subotnik’s Silver Apples of the Moon (also recorded with a Buchla synth) or Bernard Parmegiani’s De Natura Sonorum, but filtered through Snyder’s grittier modern language. The second disc abandons this frenetic melange and settles into a pair of static drones, alternately punishing and ethereal, Merzbow versus Radigue. Yet throughout the music is at ease: perfectly refined timbres given fragile placement in time, at once focused yet depicting large spaces and magnificent structures.
But Sunspots exists as more than an album. Snyder has also created a website (sunspots.scattershot.org
) that functions as an immersive “virtual installation”, combining music with arresting visuals. Three generative web-art pieces allow the listener to virtually travel inside a space inspired by the sonic world of the record. In the installation, fixed forms don’t apply - the listener creates their own visual and aural trajectory in collaboration with the algorithms that continuously permutate the material.
You are in good hands. This album is your friend, it is your pet. Put it on, it will take care of you.
released January 26, 2018
composed and performed by Jeff Snyder
album art by Jessica Segall
graphic design by Eric Li
surround mix encoding by Richard Ford